Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

Book Review: “Destined” The Ninth Installment of the House of Night Series

By: Taylor Whittemore

Destined, the latest House of Night book by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, was released on October 25, 2011. It was published by St. Martin’s Press in New York, and was written for entertainment purposes.

Destined’s main focus is about a group of fledglings and vampires. A fledgling is a human in the process in become a vampire, complete with certain vampire abilities. They are undergoing the Change to turn into a vampire. The fledglings either complete the change or they die. The specific group of fledglings that the book is focused on is called the Nerd Herd by a character named Aphrodite due to their geeky tendencies. This includes Zoey, Damien, Erin, and Shaunee.

The setting is in modern day Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is mostly in the House of Night school and the tunnels under an old depot building; both home to fledglings and vampires.

Destiny resumes where the previous book in the series, Awakened, left off. It is the next installment to their adventures, and their quest to defeat the evil High Priestess, Neferet. Neferet is a positive character in the beginning of the series, often described as a mom-like figure to Zoey, the main protagonist. Throughout the later books, the reader learns just how evil Neferet is, and how strong her interactions with the Darkness are. The reader also learns that she is trying to start a violent war between vampires and humans.

Destined is the ninth book in the House of Night series. The first book is Marked, followed by Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned, and Awakened. They are all quite close in length, and Destined has 352 pages in a printed copy.

The authors focus on a teenage audience, but also included some mature themes. Cursing is quite frequent; however, it makes the vocabulary much more descriptive.

Because this is a later book in the series, there is little description of the surroundings due to the fact that they were all described in previous books. There is also very little description on the people, though the authors will put in a description occasionally to remind the reader what the characters look like.

The plot of Destined is very unpredictable. The authors have plot twists frequently, with surprising events happening once every few chapters. Because this is part of the series, the reader cannot predict whether the end of the book will be the end of the series or will be continued on in later books.

The authors interject comic relief into their writing, although Destined also has darker themes than some of the other books in the series, causing them to reduce the normal amount of comic relief in the book.

The characters in Destined are well developed, especially because there have been nine previous books to sharpen the characters’ personality and appearance in the reader’s mind. For instance, Zoey Redbird has been through trials and many tragic events throughout the previous books, but the reader is still developing her character in Destined. The new characters are described very well, and put a distinct picture in the reader’s mind. Characters have flaws, but they also have redeeming qualities to give the majority of them a likeable personality.

The dialogue, like the characters, is well developed, and each character has a very different tone. The book is written in first person, but rotates through different character’s point of view.

Destined was a well written book which will most likely appeal to teenage girls who like vampires, action, romance, drama, comedy, and adventure.


Gamer Review: Gears of War 3 Definitely Better and Worth Getting

By: Brandon Gabaldon and Peter Martinez

This past September, Gears of War 3 came out for Xbox 360. This third installment of one of the most engaging and successful franchises improved in many ways from the second and answers some players’ burning questions.

Horde Mode has changed since the second Gears without making it a different mode entirely. Horde is still a co-op or solo experience, but now can be played with up to five other players online.

One of the ways Horde is so different, is you have to kill locust to gain points to buy certain things like ammo. Another addition is fortifications, like barricades and turrets, which can be upgraded and therefore improved.

If you find yorself being overrun, kill as many locusts as you can in an effort to buy a Mulcher or a Flamethrower to help you survive the endless waves of locust.

The campaign is an intense mode with great stories, new enemies, and new areas. It also teaches you how some enemies are made, such as Corspers, Tickers, etc. The campaign has some new enemies, called Lambent, that control every living creature, even humans. This campaign is heart wrenching at every turn. The bosses are bigger and badder at every step.

The Beast Mode is the best mode because you are the enemy. It is the most exciting because you fight the humans. It has a system where the more enemies you kill the more points you recieve. There are an array of enemies you can choose from. You will want to play Beast Mode over and over again.

The multiplayer experience is engaging and similar to Gears of War 2. There are new modes to choose from to keep the replay value for Gears of War 3 high. These new modes are Team Deathmatch, Warzone, Execution, Capture the Leader, King of the Hill, and Wingman. All od the modes are 2-10 players online and many people have already bought the game so you won’t have to worry about having no one to play with.

In both Horde and Multiplayer Modes, there are over 30 characters to choose from in both locust and humans. To unlock different characters, a player has to complete challenges or level up. A new arsenal of maps has been released that are larger than Gears of War 2. They include a supermarket, football stadium, and an abandoned city. Maps are still going to be released with map-packs and additions that will be released soon.

With these additions, Gears of War 3 is a major improvement from the second and is worth getting.

Book Review – “The Son of Neptune”

By Taylor Whittemore

On October 4, 2011, a new novel by Rick Riordan debuted. The Son of Neptune is the second installation of The Heroes of Olympus series. This is a fictional novel that is written for entertainment. The Heroes of Olympus is a follow up to The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

The Son of Neptune is about three demigods from a Roman camp named Camp Jupiter. The demigods are Hazel, Frank, and Percy, and they all have mysterious pasts. Their quest is to release Thantos or Death. On their mission, they encounter monsters, gods and goddesses, allies, and an army.

This novel introduces both old and new characters, and many different concepts from the rest of Riordan’s novels. This makes the storyline hard to follow in parts of the novel. The novel is set in modern time. It takes place all across the west of the United States and Canada in famous cities.

The Son of Neptune is 373 pages on an eBook and 544 in hardcover. The novels in The Heroes of Olympus are much longer than The Percy Jackson series. The Son of Neptune is shorter than the first novel in The Heroes of Olympus, The Lost Hero.

Riordan tries to intrigue his audiences of all ages, so his word choice is limited. He writes simply, with an occasional “advanced” word embedded.

Throughout the book, Riordan gives the readers a view of the plot. He often describes the setting, but fails to use description. Therefore, the audience cannot picture the action clearly.

The Son of Neptune also has a complicated plot. These are many confusing plot twists, and events are spontaneous. However, the ending is very open, and leads into the next novel.

Despite these issues, Riordan keeps his audience intrigued. He uses comedy as he gives one of his characters a sarcastic attitude, causing laughs even in the intense scenes.

The Son of Neptune is a #1 New York Times bestseller, a USA TODAY bestseller, and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Despite being a lower level novel, The Son of Neptune has an advanced plot. This made it enjoyable to read. Riordan also makes surprising connections with the characters, which the audience can relate to. Overall, The Son of Neptune is intriguing to read while curled up on the couch on a rainy day.